NEWS

Too many transfusion AIDS cases

While the number of newly reported cases of AIDS in Greece has declined drastically since the mid-1990s, the country has the highest cumulative incidence of transmission through blood transfusions in the European Union, according to data released in Luxembourg yesterday. A Eurostat report found that a total of 2,260 Greeks were diagnosed with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome between 1981 and 2001. The corresponding EU total for the same period was 235,000 cases. The new cases in Greece for last year were 86, down from 125 in 2000 and a peak of 215 in 1995. Between 1981 and 2001, almost 8 percent of new cases in Greece were due to blood transfusions – 5.2 percent of those were hemophiliac and people with blood coagulation disorders, and 2.7 percent were other transfusion recipients. This was the highest rate in the EU, with Austria coming second. The main cause of infection in Greece was male homosexual contact or contact with bisexual males (56.5 pct), followed by heterosexual contact (18.1 pct). Intravenous drug use accounted for 3.8 percent of all Greek cases.